Thursday, May 23, 2019

That's Different (1950)

A Classic Reprint from the May 1950 issue of the Socialist Standard

A man with an ax flew by Socrates, chasing another man:
“Stop him! Stop him!” cried he of the weapon. “He’s a murderer!”
But the old sage wasn’t taking any chances, and jogged along imperturbably.
“You fool!” quoth he of the ax. “Why didn’t you stop him? He’s a murderer, I tell you!”
“A murderer! What’s a murderer?”
“ Fool! One that kills, of course.”
“Ah! a butcher.”
No, idiot! That’s different. One that kills a man.”
“ Oh! Ah, a soldier.”
No! No! That’s different altogether. One that kills a man in times of peace!”
“A hangman!”
No! No! No! That’s different. One that kills a man in his house!”
“ A doctor, then!”
No! No! No! No! No! That’s different”

Running along after him (2,000 years after) comes another man with flaming eyes : “Stop him! Stop him!” he cries, pointing to something he sees, or thinks he sees, ahead of him. “Stop him! He’s a Socialist!”
“A Socialist! What’s a Socialist?”
“Why a believer in state industries, of course.”
“ Oh. I see? The railways, post offices, customs, drains, and all that.”
“No, that’s different! I mean competing against private enterprise.”
Oh! schools, universities, and the like.”
“No! No! That’s different. I mean state trading. The fellows that expect everything done for them by the state! A loafer that wants to share the earnings of the industrious workers!”
Ah! Ah! A nobleman who has inherited land.” 
“No! No! That’s different. I mean—.”

Sydney Bulletin. (The above is reprinted from the Socialist Standard, September, 1909).

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